We heard a pygmy-owl hooting at first, and while I was off going to the bathroom Jacob heard a saw-whet. Grr. I never heard it. The fog was thickening below which was pretty cool to watch.
Our county Townsend's Solitaire was hawking insects downslope, but it took off before we could get a photo. After the sunrise we watched a Northern Harrier zip by us which gave us the idea that we should get a little higher and try some hawk-watching.
We found a rocky slope we could scramble up, and on the scramble we watched an accipiter zoom by at eye level, then two more got in a scuffle over the next hill. Tons of robins were flying over, plus one or two more solitaires.
Everything seemed so promising until that awesome view turned into this:
Hmm. The clouds and fog never cleared so the decision was made to try again on a clear day.
We drove back up the same sketchy roads, climbed back up the same rocky scramble, past the pika poop to our little flat ledge.
A sharpie flew by soon after we arrived, then a flock of
The birds came slowly but steadily, sometimes flying directly over us and sometimes over the valley between our ridge line and Silver Star Mountain. We had sharpies, a couple Red-taileds, and two Osprey during the first hour or so.
Jacob was most excited when his county Merlin came flying almost straight over us.
Soon after a big flock of Band-tailed Pigeons came flying over the hill and banked south,
The last raptor to fly over was a young Bald Eagle who thoroughly checked us out.
At this point I became too cold to function and we decided to climb down and back up the hill on the opposite side of where we parked. From there we could see our little stone seats:
So we didn't see a ton of birds nor did we find anything rare, but I had never really tried hawk watching before away from a known site. I'd call it a success!
Now back to the 5-mile Radius! I've been thinking about it a lot lately and decided I wanted to encourage the concept a little by giving it its own Instagram! I figure once people see how much cool stuff I can find in my own radius then they will want to try their own. Right? I dunno. TBD.
Anyway, I have been birding along the river quite a bit lately, hoping for some of the random birds that can appear in fall. A couple weeks ago I lucked into a dog flushing some birds from the beach near Wintler Park...
Oh snap, that's a Parasitic Jaeger! I might not have noticed it if the dog hadn't flushed it into the air along with a few gulls. Instead of flying away like I expected, it continued to circle with the gulls, gaining altitude until I lost sight of it.
Horned Grebes and Mew Gulls made their first fall appearances that morning as well. Solid birding!
One afternoon Jacob and I went to Marine Park and he noticed a smaller duck had infiltrated the Mallard flock. A Blue-winged Teal!
This is not a common Columbia River bird, but after looking at eBird I noticed most of the river sightings (including all the ones from Broughton Beach) are in September. That means something but I'm not sure what.
We walked the trail to Tidewater Cove where we found a trio of ducks on the water: two (first of fall) Lesser Scaup and a Surf Scoter!
Though it doesn't come up as rare, Surf Scoter is still a quality bird in the county.
Tidewater Cove is surrounded by million dollar condo buildings that have their own little pond which is only barely visible from the bike path. On this day we noticed something white through the reeds.
Mute Swans! Not countable, and kind of weird, but good to know...
And some more birds from Marine Park...
The 5-mile radius has been good to me this fall! Yay fall! Good times!!